Visit the Flint Farmers Market

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Heidi and I traveled down to Flint to visit the new Farmers’ Market. The market moved last summer into its new home in the old Flint Journal building. The new setting is stunning and definitely worth a visit if you’re in Mid-Michigan.

Finding the market is easy. If you’re in downtown Flint, it’s the big building with big red letters saying Flint Farmers’ Market. It’s also close to I-475, the interstate that cuts through the heart of Flint. From I-475, take Exit 7 (Court Street) and turn onto 2nd street and the market will be on your right. Be warned that second street is pretty beat up, so go slow unless you have your own alignment shop.

One last logistical detail before we take a peek inside. As of this writing, the market is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Check here for hours.

It’s still too early for the local farmers to have any produce. In fact, we haven’t even been able to plant our garden yet. The stalls outside were empty. However, the vendors inside have produce year round.

In the white tent in the picture above is Reiner’s Meat Shop. Reiner Wedel, the owner, makes and sells a huge variety of meats and cheeses. We’ve tried his jerky and a few of his cheeses and they are good even for people spoiled by Frankenmuth’s German butcher shops. He says his are even better. I’m not sure about that but he sure gives them a run for their money.

Inside, the place was hopping with customers and filled with vendors. The market has meat shops, fresh produce, bakeries, home made soaps, herbs, and a variety of other vendors. We bought some salad greens from the salad green lady as well as some sweet corn. Even though it came from Florida, it still was really good. I also had one of the best bagels I’ve had in a long time.

The stores are brightly lit and there’s an open feel. We were also stricken by how friendly everyone was. Vendors and customers alike welcome you with a smile. That’s actually pretty common in Flint, where people have a resilient, hard-working attitude. The common bond is that if we work together we can get through the current crisis. People rally together to make the world a better place, even though things have been really tough in Flint for a long time.

There’s a common eating area and cafe with ample seating for a quick lunch. There were also stands with vendors as well as information booths from local companies. For example, the black stand above is from Hurley Medical Center, a local medical provider.

There were several places to get tea and coffee. The photo above shows one of them.

The market also has a commercial kitchen available to vendors. That allows people to make their own food products for sale (which is generally illegal without a commercial kitchen unless an exception applies). In addition, we saw signs for workshops for food entrepreneurs. It sure seems the community is committed to developing the market and its vendors even further.

Toward the back I saw something that warmed my heart. One of the principles of designing a creative space is to put writeable surfaces everywhere. A simple way to do this is to put showerboards up where people can access them. Showerboard is cheap and also works great as a dry erase board. Toward the back, well wishers had left their messages on an improvised whiteboard.

Again, if you visit the Flint area the market is definitely worth a stop. It’s right across the street from the University of Michigan Flint and is walking distance from Michigan State’s Flint location. We will definitely be returning.

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